Meetings focus on force management



by Donovan Jackson
42nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs


1/24/2014 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Four town hall meetings were held at Maxwell and Gunter last week to inform Airmen of the upcoming force management programs designed to reduce the force by thousands over the next five years.

The reduction in force will be the largest since the end of the Cold War as the programs aim to cut approximately 25,000 Airmen, according to Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, Air Force chief of staff.

42nd Air Base Wing Commander Col. Trent Edwards initiated the meetings by telling attendees the level of importance and impact that the cuts will have.

"All of us are impacted by these upcoming events in one way or another," Edwards said. "Unfortunately, we will lose some good folks throughout this process."

Both officers and enlisted Airmen could be forced to leave as early as this summer; however, the Air Force is encouraging Airmen to accept voluntary retirement or separation to eliminate its need to involuntary cut Airmen.

A board will consider an Airman's entire performance record and will be conducted in accordance with Air Force promotion board standards.

The board will consider Airmen with fewer than 18 years, or with 20 years or more of service as of Sept. 30, 2014, who have specific negative reporting identifiers, reenlistment eligibility codes, assignment availability codes or grade status reasons.

Those identifiers, indicators, codes and reasons include:

· awaiting retraining due to disqualification;
· awaiting discharge for cause;
· current referral performance report;
· grade reduction;
· rank not commensurate with years of service;
· five or more days lost time;
· career field skill level not commensurate with grade;
· serving a suspended Article 15 punishment;
· serving on control roster;
· poor fitness assessment;
· disqualified Airmen (for cause), returned to duty program and denied reenlistment.

"Everyone should take a thorough look at their records because every item on them will be in front of the board, and you will want to know what they're looking at," said Master Sgt. Nikole Messer, career development superintendent at the military personnel section of the 42nd Force Support Squadron.

"I understand that you may think that your record is good; however, someone thousands of miles away is going to let you know how good your record really is," Edwards said. "That's the reality of it. I had to go through it myself."

Concluding the meeting, Edwards addressed the importance of openness with Airmen.

"Commanders, supervisors and leaders, you must have face-to-face contact with the Airmen in your unit. We owe them truth, honesty and help. We are going to make sure that they can make the best decisions for themselves and their families. We have helping agencies that will guide them through their decision-making process," Edwards said.